This is one of the top questions filling my mailbox! The writer often states that they have songs and just can’t get the right person to listen. They feel their songs are as strong as what’s playing on radio, so how can they get a publishing company to take a chance on them? Well, I’ve been in those same shoes, believe me! I know the frustration of feeling like my progress was stalled and doors weren’t opening. And guess what, when they did open, nothing happened as I thought it would. Here’s the way it did happen and often happens. The Anchor-man Analogy: Imagine an ambitious aspiring news anchor-man. He knows he’s got the goods. He has spent countless hours practicing at home. He can speak as well and is as smart as those other guys at the big networks. So, he books a trip to the Big Apple. He walks into NBC and asks to speak to the head of the network. By chance, the chief happens to be walking by, so the aspiring anchor stops him and says confidently, “I’m your next network anchor I’ve been working my tail off practicing and I’ve got the goods!”
I can’t count the number of times that songwriters have complained to me about how the music business was trying to keep them out or the industry doesn’t welcome them as it should. These writers believe that the people already in the music business spend their time devising ways to prevent newcomers from breaking into the business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the complete opposite is closer to reality. The newcomers are one of the most valuable “things” in the industry and most of big boys in the business are more than happy to introduce the next big player to the game and become the hero!
People in the music business survive by finding new talent. Their livelihood and longevity depend on it. And the competitive nature of the business creates a system in which people love to be the ones who discover the best new thing. Powerful people in the music business are actively looking for great songs, writers and artists.
“If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.
Every time I read it, this quote hits me right between the eyes. In some areas of my life, I’m still very much a procrastinator and excuse maker. I keep telling myself that I want to lose 10 kilos and have a six-pack stomach. I know HOW to do that. I’ve even done it before. The trouble is that I don’t want that as bad as I want that plate of steak or just one more glass of that whiskey while I'm writing. So, I put it off and I make excuses. “It’s the holidays – I’ll do all that in January”. “I don’t have time to go to the gym today – I’ll go tomorrow”. You know the drill...
I can spot the affliction of Write-Up-Itis among songwriters immediately, the moment I see them, because I have battled this dreadful and potentially fatal disease in the past. The symptoms generally start after you write the first song that you think is really commercially viable. A slight fever starts to develop. You get what I call “the bug”. The bug leads to hallucinations. You see yourself driving along in your car when you hear a familiar intro come on the radio. The RADIO. Not the CD player. The real live FM radio! The intro fades into an opening line that you would know anywhere.
You wrote it. A SUPERSTAR is singing it. Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Kenny Chesney. You pull over and just soak in the moment. Then, the guy behind you starts to honk and you are jolted back to reality. That’s not your song on the radio. It’s another one written by Mrs. X, the hottest writer in town.